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The Curious Case of Ryan O’Reilly
Every Avs fan has a different view on Ryan O’Reilly’s holdout, so I thought I would share mine. I will start off saying O’Reilly is one of my favorite players; a very hard worker with heart. He centered our best line for most of last season (with Landeskog and Downie) and was arguably our best player. I never thought O’Reilly would have been the one to have a contract holdout, just doesn’t seem to fit his personality. He is a team first guy that seemed to love this team, town and fans but we all have to remember this is a business.
O’Reilly is the type of player you want to build a franchise around, not necessarily a franchise player but someone who will give his heart and soul to the team. He is not a 30 goal, 90 point guy but he can put up 60ish points with Selke worthy defense. He is a perfect 2nd line center that can play in any spot whether killing a big penalty or on the 1st power play unit. All of this from a 21 year old kid that is still growing. Any team would be lucky to have O’Reilly on their roster.
With all of the being said, I would not pay him anything over 4.5 million per season. Not because I don’t feel he is worth it but because giving an RFA more than that will lead to higher demands in the future. It been reported that he turned down a 5 year 18 million dollar offer which I feel is a fair offer. I was surprised that the Avs even offered a contract of that length since Duchene only got a two year bridge contract. I like bridge contracts because they allow the player to earn a larger third contract while saving the team from having to eat a bad contract if the player doesn’t turn into what they had planned. But in O’Reilly’s case I can understand handing him a longer term contract because at worst he becomes an overpaid third line center that is good in both zones. If I was in controlled of his contract, I would give him more money for each year he signs. For example if he signs a max 8-year contract I would give him 4.5 per while on a 5 year contract I would give him around 3.75 per season. My reasoning behind this is it would give the Avs cost control while eating the first few years of O’Reilly UFA years while giving O’Reilly a huge pay raise.
If reports are true that Ryan is looking for 5 million a season then I think it’s time to trade him. Just not worth the risk in my opinion, not only because of O’Reilly but what it could lead to with Landeskog, Duchene,Varlamov and our other young player who will be looking for bigger contracts here soon. If you give O’Reilly 5 million a season then what kind of raise will Landeskog be asking for? Will you be able to afford that? You’re going down a scarier road if you start handing out inflated contracts, you might have the cap space now but that will dry up very quickly. Trading him might be the best thing for the future of the team even if it means making the team worst right now.
But what is fair value for a 21 year old that will win multiple Selkes in his career? That is really tough to gage but from an Avs point of view I know what they should get in return. A top pairing defenseman that can play with Erik Johnson. Simple as that. A got a few ideas in mind, my wish list; Keith Yandle, Zach Bogosian or PK Subban.
Not sure how this will all play out but it will be very interesting and will determine the fate of the Avs’ season. They either need to sign him or trade him here soon; this season is too short to let this hang over their heads all season.
Aaron Gardner (@Aaron_Gardner_G)